Categories
Lifestyle Parenting

The Sweetest Embrace….

This is one of those stories that I struggled to share. Actually, this is one of maybe ten stories that I struggled to share. Before I went public with my blog, I thought that this “open book” thing was going to be easy.

Yeah….

I started struggling with my weight when I was in high school. Between being sick and going through puberty, I became disgusted by my body. My hips started spreading, and I had the slightest pudge in my stomach. I hated looking in the mirror. I often wore my middle school wardrobe as motivation for the weight that I wanted to be.

I remember the morning that I was discharged from a hospital stay when I was in the 9th grade. I put my size 11 jeans on. When I stood up, my pants feel to my feet. I thought that I had forgotten to button them. When I pulled my pants back up, I noticed how wide they were in the waist.

I was shocked and excited. I lost weight! Due to the various tests and procedures that I had undergone, I was placed on a strict diet. I just didn’t notice that this diet would have a big impact on my body. I was able to fit my older sister’s size 7 jeans! My clothes from middle school fit like a glove.

Literally…. My breasts were developing, so those shirts were tight in the chest area.

Once I was allowed to return to a normal diet, the pounds came creeping back. In no time, I was back in my size 11 jeans. It was so frustrating!

I started my first homemade “diet” when I was in 11th grade. I ate one Granny Smith apple a day, drank a lot of water, and had 1 hour of exercise a day.

I dropped 30 pounds in a month.

I started wearing my middle school clothes to school again. I knew my shirts were too short, but they clung to me and showed my flat tummy. I just knew I was cute.

I nearly fainted at school a week later. My father was understandably pissed off that he had to come pick me up. He was working second shift, and sleeping during the day. My mother was working first shift and had a lengthy commute from home.

I confessed to my father that I hadn’t been eating. I had never let my parents know about my issues with my body. He yelled at me for a good portion of the ride home:

“You know damn well you’re supposed to eat!”

I felt like I couldn’t talk to my parents about this issue. It was something that haunted me for years. I decided to just let them think I was acting stupid.

I started eating a regular diet and wearing my normal fitting clothes again. It was time for me to accept the fact that I wasn’t going to fulfill my dreams of wearing crop tops and low-rise jeans.

I gained about 60 pounds when I was pregnant with Ariana. It didn’t bother me much because I was able to use pregnancy as an excuse. I had to gain weight for the baby, right? Most of that extra weight went to my breasts, stomach, and face.

After I had Ariana, I began to lose the weight. I credit postpartum depression for that. I remember admiring my flattening stomach while I was in the psychiatric hospital.

After several months, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I was impressed by my ability to be able to keep my weight in check for years. I actually started to accept my curves. The guys loved the curves.

I always craved that attention from guys. I was always jealous of my older sister for getting it. I didn’t know that I was seeking to wrong type of attention. I loved it though. My self-esteem was higher than ever.

Maybe I was never fat to begin with!

I started gaining weight again when Ariana was three. At that time, I was in my first marriage, and I had stopped putting so much into my appearance. I was never into appearances. It just didn’t matter to me. I thought that my husband wouldn’t care because he loved me.

WRONG!

Another damn expectation placed on the woman.

When I was pregnant with Amariyah, the weight started piling on.

My thighs had never rubbed together before. For the first time in my life, the first number on the scale read “2”. I was gutted. I never thought that I would see the day.

After I had Avery, I completely let myself go. I didn’t even want to know what I looked like. I avoided the mirror as much as I could. I didn’t even do my hair in front of a mirror.

I was forced to confront my appearance after seeing a picture of myself from Avery’s first birthday party. It was a very humbling experience. Everyone feels like they look good until that picture is taken.

I’m not talking about a deceptive selfie…..

I reconnected with a grade school classmate on Facebook. It turns out that she had become a nutrition coach. After catching up for a few minutes, she introduced me to the Medifast diet. She gave me her testimony on how it worked for her. I was intrigued.

It was expensive, but I was desperate. My then-husband and I were having trouble paying our bills, but I could tell that he was excited at the idea of me losing weight. At a time when my marriage was quickly deteriorating, I thought that it was the least that I could do to salvage what was left.

The food was nasty. I had to eat five meal replacements a day, plus cook a healthy dinner. I added exercise into my regimen after a month. I was impressed by how fast the pounds were falling off.

I had one cheat day. A friend blessed me with a lunch date at Red Lobster. That endless shrimp was heavenly! Don’t get me started on the Dr. Pepper!

I stepped on the scale a couple of days later. I had gained three pounds. I could tell that my husband was annoyed. I was understanding. We were shelling out a lot of money for me to do this, and I slipped up.

After six months, I lost a total of 70 pounds. I felt fantastic! I graduated from my husband’s clothes to some new, cute clothes that I treated myself with. My husband even acted like he was attracted to me again. That didn’t go unnoticed. As bad as it sounds, I was loving the outside attention that I was getting as well.

After I separated from my then-husband, I gave up the diet. It was more important than ever to solely focus on providing for my babies.

I never entered the official maintenance portion of the diet, but I was able to keep my weight under control with small food portions.

When I started dating Donnie, he knew that I had been struggling with my image. Being the sweetheart that he is, he told me that I didn’t need to diet.

That was easy for him to say. He never saw me at my heaviest weight.

We had both actually just experienced a drastic weight loss. When Donnie and I found out that we were going to have a baby, the weight started creeping back. I craved cantaloupe and Dr. Pepper all of the time.

After I miscarried, I started relying on bad eating habits again. After a a couple of months, I was pregnant with Julian. Again, I put on a lot of weight. Again, I didn’t let it bother me because I needed to put on weight for the baby.

After I gave birth to the twins, I was at the highest weight of my life. Once again, I was forced to confront my appearance.

I took extra pride in doing my hair. My hair is something that I could always count on. Even when my hair was going through different phases of damage(illness related), cuts, and styles, it never let me down. I never had a problem growing my hair. I told myself that as long as my hair was done, the rest of my appearance didn’t matter.

It was nice to have the reassurance of my husband, Donnie, though. He has never made me feel like I am unattractive. He has always loved me. Knowing this made me take some pressure off of myself.

Maybe I don’t need to keep a certain appearance to please a man! The right man! The man who loves me unconditionally!

Sure, people got their fat jokes off at my expense. Good for them. For the first time in my life, I didn’t care because my husband loved every inch of me. My husband helped me love myself. I know that I’m not perfect, but I’m me. What can be better than that?! Certainly I’m not being miserable and cracking jokes on someone else.

Still, I knew I needed to lose weight for health reasons.

I also wanted to look better for me. Why wasn’t I blessed with good genes?! I have seen larger women with great figures:

Titties? Sitting. Ass? Poked. Frame? Hour glass.

Me? The opposite…..

Google told me that I was shaped like a damn apple….

My parents tried to blame my child-rearing for the weight. I mean, food is also good… When I’m depressed, I have an unhealthy relationship with food.

I started a Keto diet when the twins were two years old. I was impressed with the quick weight loss. Unfortunately, my weight loss stalled after losing 25 pounds.

Next, I tried the Atkins diet. It seemed similar to the Keto diet. It was a cute diet, but my weight loss was not cute. I gave up on that quickly. I tried a few more weight loss applications. They just didn’t do the job for me.

I was skeptical about Weight Watchers. This is the oldest diet that I had heard of. I was hesitant because I had to open my purse again. This time, the damage was far less.

I started the program in January of this year. I was actually impressed. You just track and eat in within your point allotment. You don’t have to worry about keeping track of carbs and fat and micros and macros… You know, those pesky numbers that indicate that you are overdoing it….

I think that my favorite part was the lack of food restrictions. I could literally eat what I wanted. The downside was that the portions were extremely small, compared to what I normally would eat. Sometimes I would find myself craving a 17-point Big Mac with only 2 points left.

Huge sigh!

I started losing weight at a normal pace, and I was happy with my results. I was no longer obsessing with the scale. I was obsessing over how amazing my new clothes fit.

One thing that I learned about myself from doing Weight Watchers is that I need to stop putting expectations on myself. I will probably never be tiny again, and that’s okay with me.

Part of the reason why I was failing at these diets is because I only had my eyes on the end result. I didn’t celebrate the small victories. I was only focused on being skinny instead of making realistic goals.

My goal is to be healthy and happy. Salads may make me healthy, but they don’t always make me happy. Oreos may not be healthy, but I will be happy eating them. Thanks WW!

It’s all a work in progress, and I’m still working. I’m not where I want to be, but I’m not at my highest weight anymore. Success!

Unfortunately, I’m human. I fell off of my program during my most recent confrontation with depression. I am currently taking things one day at a time until I am fully able to recommit

I want this story to promote happiness and acceptance.

I want to let you know that you don’t have to fit into a box that was designated by man. Break the norms. Fat doesn’t have to equal unhealthy or unattractive, and skinny doesn’t have to equal sexy or desirable.

Stand confident in you. Love you! You weren’t put on this earth to make people accept you.

Thank you for your support, and feel free leave feedback!

Also, don’t forget to check out my other website for some affordable jewelry:

www.antoniasglamsc8pe.com

Categories
Lifestyle Parenting

***TRIGGER WARNING*** My Regret: A personal experience with postpartum depression

I am heartbroken as I write this at 2am. I have been sick for the last couple of weeks. I think the symptoms are finally starting to subside. I just knew I was pregnant.

At first, I was nervous at the thought. I already have six children, & a lot of my days can be overwhelming. I am a student & I struggle with depression most days. My older children already help me a lot with certain tasks. As the days went by, I had more & more typical pregnancy symptoms. My breasts had swelled bigger than ever. I had cravings. My sleep pattern was thrown off. The icing on the cake? My period was late. My period was NEVER late, unless I was pregnant.

I prayed about it. I was nervous, but excited at the fact that I could be carrying new life. I hate being pregnant, but for some reason I was really anticipating my husband spoiling me with massages & endless fast food binges again. Yeah…I use pregnancy as an excuse to eat everything in sight.

I contemplated telling my husband before I took a test. I initially decided that I would wait until I got that positive pregnancy test. My period was now two days late, and for some reason, I blurted out “I need a pregnancy test!”. My husband looked taken aback. After the shock wore off, he seemed to be pretty excited at the possibility, especially after I told him my period was late.

Later that evening, my husband bought me a pregnancy test, I went into the bathroom to pee. I knew this drill all too well. I dropped three drops of urine onto the disk and waited impatiently. My stomach dropped as I watched the red dye spread across the disk. It was visibly negative. I didn’t give up hope because I had what I thought was a negative pregnancy test in 2011, but there turned out to be the faintest line when I held it under light. I took the disk apart and looked at the strip under the flashlight of my phone. I was willing myself to see a second line.

As I was gathering myself, my husband opened the bathroom door and inquired anxiously. I was a little nervous to give him the sad news. “It’s negative.”, I said glumly. In a matter of seconds, I saw my husband’s face go from curiosity to sadness. He denied his reaction, but I knew better. I was upset with myself because I didn’t want to clue my husband in until I knew for sure that I was pregnant. I was trying to avoid these reactions.

My period was late for a third day. I scoured Google like a deranged lunatic, trying to renew my hopes. I decided to wait a few more days and test again.

Because I was hardheaded, I took another test. It was also negative. Again, I took the disk apart and started analyzing the strip. I started to wonder if I ovulated later. I was recently involved in a car accident and thought that it threw my cycle off. I thought about the day that my husband and I had sex and I gained some hope. I just knew I was pregnant. My symptoms were stronger than ever. I began to check my cervix every time I went to pee, which was frequently. It was high and there was watery discharge. I was excited because I read several stories on Google that pointed to this as a good sign. I knew damn well that everyone is different. I just needed one story to get my hopes up.

I went through the next day without asking my husband to buy me a pregnancy test. This didn’t stop me from obsessing over Google and looking up just about every scenerio that I could think of in hopes of a positive outcome.

On Sunday morning, I woke up early. I watched a movie with my husband. I then asked my husband to go to the store. I casually asked him to pick up a pregnancy test. My confidence level was through the roof because my period was now five days late. When my husband returned, I took the test into the bathroom nervously. I dropped the usual pee on the test and watched the dye spread across the test like clockwork. I was stunned. It was still negative. At this moment, I was shattered. My husband was adamant about me going to the hospital. I didn’t want to go. I felt it was a waste of time. I wasn’t having an emergency. I had no idea what was going on. I broke down and yelled at the sky “If I’m not pregnant, give me my period!”. I was so devastated and I sounded so ridiculous.

To calm myself, I took a shower and washed my hair. My husband went to pick up dinner and I asked him for another pregnancy test because I was planning on testing again in a few more days.

I finished my shower and hair a couple of hours later. As I was sitting on my bed, I felt a cramp. My heart sunk. It was a familiar cramp. I went to the bathroom and wiped. There was nothing. I was relieved. I stopped myself from pulling my pants up and decided to check my cervix. I pulled my finger out of my vagina and was greeted with a small amount of blood. I furiously grabbed a pad and put it into my underwear. By this time, my husband had returned home. He forgot the test. I told him that my period had started. I could tell that he was sad, but I knew that he was relieved that nothing was wrong with me.

Later on that night, I went to the bathroom. I looked down at my pad, fully expecting to see the obvious. I was shocked. The amount of blood in my pad was the size of a coin. I wiped myself after peeing and saw a little bit more light red blood on the tissue. I had no cramps. I returned to Google and looked up “implantation bleeding”. I was getting my hopes up again, but I didn’t care. I didn’t want to be counted out. I was desperate for hope. Hours passed and I was still monitoring my bleeding. It was more of the same: a small amount on the pad and a little bit more when I wiped. The next morning, I checked my pad. There wasn’t even enough blood on the pad to cover half of a pantyliner. I was still hopeful. As the afternoon approached, the bleeding started to darken. The amount was the same. There were small clots. Back to Google I went. My “pregnancy” symptoms started to fade and I started cramping. At this point, I went into “fuck it” mode. I continued to obsess over Google. My pad was still mostly white throughout the day.

I set myself up. I knew I had driven myself crazy. Despite being very fertile, which was evident by the amount of kids I already had, I knew there was a slim to zero chance that I could be pregnant.

It wasn’t just because I had this late, light, period. I had my tubes tied almost three years ago after a C-section. I had read all of the stories of women who had gone on to conceive after tubal ligation. I just knew it would happen to me. I expected to haven’t tubes tied during an emergency C-section because I was traumatized. Had I had a clear mind, I would have never authorized the procedure. The doctor asked me if I was sure and I didn’t hesitate. I regretted it months later. I felt like a part of me also went through with it to make other people happy. I get judged a lot for having so many kids. I am always told “You don’t need anymore kids.”. I wanted to prove to everyone that i was done. But I wasn’t. Now I sit here with depression two and a half years later, partially because I made a decision mostly based on other people’s emotions. My body is a mess around the time that my period is slated to begin. I always feel pregnant and my cramps are horrendous. I feel like God is taunting me or punishing me for not letting my body react naturally. Does this sound crazy?

I stayed up to let the tears flow and reflect on the “what ifs”. I know my feelings are selfish because there are people who can’t conceive. I love my husband and I am glad that he is so supportive. Some days I feel like it’s not enough. It’s not his fault. Some days I feel like dying. No amount of consoling could cure that feeling. Maybe one day I will get to experience that miracle again.

My Regret.

****08-18-2020****

I wrote this story a few years ago, as I was going through postpartum depression. I was upset about having my tubes tied because I didn’t like the way I felt. I was also upset because my twins were growing up. I missed them as babies.

Early in our relationship, Donnie told me that he dreamed of having 10 kids. Well, I said he could keep that as a dream.

I spent the majority of my 20’s pregnant. It looks odd, looking from the outside, but I always felt like something was missing from me. As long as I was pregnant, I felt that “something”. I felt whole. However, I hated being pregnant. I know, it’s confusing. The pain and the sickness is not fun.

One way that my body has changed since I had my tubes tied is pain. Around my scheduled ovulation period, I have awful nerve pain. It spreads from the top of my shoulders to the tips of my toes. Sometimes it renders me motionless. The same sensation is felt during the first two days of my period. I had never felt this pain before. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, and I had never felt this pain before.

Another thing that I had to get used to was the frequent “pregnancy scares”. I literally felt like I was pregnant every month, for the first couple of years after I had the twins. I had all of the textbook symptoms and signs. I became obsessed with Google. I knew my body. I knew every time that I was pregnant, except with Ariana(I was young and didn’t know what was happening).

Unfortunately, I didn’t know my new body: My post-tubal ligation body. My new normal definitely made my depression worse, to the point where I actually wanted to actively conceive. I wanted to try for baby number 7, despite my tubes being tied. Donnie had a lot of concerns. First of all, he saw how hard my last pregnancy, labor, and delivery was. Second, we already had a lot of kids, and they are VERY expensive.

Donnie has a habit of trying to make me happy, instead of telling me that I’m making a bad decision. I don’t like that. I have discussed this with him several times. He’s getting better. He agreed that we could try.

Obviously, my dumb ass plan didn’t work. I gave up the idea as I started snapping from my depressive state.

Ask me if I want to have baby number 7. Ask me.

HELL. NO.

With all the love in the world for my kids.

Don’t fight postpartum depression alone. If you experiencing symptoms, such as uncontrollable crying, lack of appetite, thoughts of worthlessness, or frustration (this is not a complete list), please ask for help. Seek out a relative or a trusted friend to help you care for your child.

You can send me an email.

You can also contact the National Postpartum Depression support number for additional resources:

1-800-PPD-MOMS

If you are having thoughts of suicide, PLEASE contact this number:

1-800-273-8255

Having postpartum depression DOES NOT make you a bad parent. Your body just went through a significant shift. Sometimes we just need time to process this emotionally and physically.

God bless.

Categories
Parenting

I’m a C-Section Mommy!(Revised)

I never thought the day would ever come. I never thought that I would go through the experience. I never thought that I would be a C-Section mom.

Let me start from the beginning.

I found out that I was pregnant again, in July of 2015, after finding out I was pregnant in June. I had to reschedule my pregnancy confirmation appointment twice because of some unfortunate events. Maybe God was trying to prepare my mind.

My mind was not prepared.

The ultrasound technician moved her wand all over my belly. This was routine to me at this point. I just laid there and thought. There was a certain moment when I lifted my head. My vision is kind of bad, and I couldn’t exactly see what was being typed on the screen. The one thing that I did see typed on the screen was the number “2”.

“TWINS?!”, I screamed. The technician just nodded her head. I immediately looked at my husband, who was super excited, and then Julian, who was still in an infant car seat. I’ve had experience with back-to-back pregnancies before, but going from a singleton pregnancy to a multiple pregnancy in less than a year was CRAZY.

I checked out with the receptionist. Her face was lit up. As she was scheduling my follow-up appointment, she started talking to her co-workers. “Man, someone must have gotten some really bad news! Did you hear all of that hollering back there!”. I could feel all of the embarrassment on my face as I took my appointment card.

I went into that office thinking that number 5 would be my last. I didn’t have plans for numbers 5 and 6. While my husband saw this as a beautiful moment, my depression was triggered. I was worried. How was this pregnancy going to affect my body? How are we going to afford twins? We weren’t rich by any means. Though MANY people side-eyed my latest pregnancy, for different reasons, my husband and I carried on.

Pregnancy was difficult. I was so heavy. I couldn’t just hop out of bed. I rolled out of bed. Nausea was the worst. There were two babies constantly kicking the shit out of me.

I had bloodwork performed more than normal. Because I was overweight, carrying twins, and living with Lupus, my pregnancy was classified as “High Risk”. After the halfway mark in my pregnancy, the local OB told me that she could no longer treat me because my bloodwork indicated “increased levels of disease”. So, what does this mean?

Well, I was transferred to an OB whose office was an hour away. I HATE traveling, but I didn’t have another choice. I was in that office and hospital every other week, and eventually two times a week, until I delivered.

I had multiple ultrasounds that lasted as long as 3 hours, and weekly stress tests. I even saw a pediatric cardiologist a few times.

By the time I hit 38 weeks gestation, it was time to have my babies. My OB didn’t want me to be pregnant anymore, and quite frankly, I didn’t want me to be pregnant anymore.

My stomach was so big that I could barely walk. Breathing was difficult at times. I was just really uncomfortable.

I was scheduled for induction on February 15th, 2016. I was excited because I was going to have my babies at a well-known, teaching hospital. I just knew that my experience would be top tier.

I was wrong.

I arrived for my induction on time. When I went to check in, it took the receptionist 30 minutes to find my file. My wait was even longer.

When I finally settled in my room and changed into my gown, it was time to be “checked”. As usual, I was nervous as Hell, and asked the doctor for a minute. It doesn’t matter how many time I get pregnant, I will never get used to a doctor performing those duties with fingers or speculums.

A pill was placed because I wasn’t ripe yet. It didn’t bother me. At least I didn’t have the experience of having a foley bulb inserted again. Donnie and I decided to get some sleep.

The medicine really didn’t do much to start the labor process, so I was given Pitocin. I was used to this medicine. I’m convinced that it was derived straight from the pits of Hell. It is some strong medicine.

Contractions picked up a couple of hours later. The doctor came back into the room. It was time for another “check”. This “check” felt more uncomfortable than the last one. I would never see this doctor ever again.

As active labor kicked in, I asked for an epidural. I don’t even try to be brave when it’s time to give birth. The pain is excruciating. I know this because the epidural that I was given during my labor experience with Ariana did not work.

Having an epidural placed is scary. There is a long ass needle being inserted into your spine. Doctors love telling you “You’re just going to feel a little pinch”, or “It’s going to feel like a bee sting”. No ma’am.

Still, the pain of having an epidural inserted is not nearly as bad as a contraction.

The nurse gave me a button that I could press to increase the amount of medicine that I was receiving. I’ve never seen this before. I was excited. I know I pressed that button about 50 times. As soon as the epidural fully kicked in, I went back to sleep.

I woke up after feeling a “pop” No big deal. That just meant my water had broken. I called the nurse to my room. When she lifted my blanket, I could see a look of horror on her face. The nurse rushed out of the room, and came back with another nurse. I wanted to know what the Hell was going on.

Not only had my water broken, I was also gushing blood. At that moment, the three of us were panicking. Donnie was still asleep. Yes, he is a very hard sleeper.

I started feeling weak. Eventually, there were 5 nurses in the room. All of them had blood soaked hands. They were desperately trying to stop the bleeding. I later read my discharge paperwork, and discovered that the doctor who disappeared had stripped my bag of water. I never authorized this!

I saw my blood on the floor as I was given a shot. The shot eventually stopped the bleeding. I was 8 centimeters dialed at this time. The baby monitors must have been taken off or knocked off during the commotion because one of the nurses fastened them back on.

The nurse was having trouble locating the heartbeat of Baby B. Baby B was Jessica. Finally, one of the nurses located the heartbeat, but it was very faint. One of the nurses woke Donnie up.

At that moment, I was rushed to the operating room. I was given an oxygen mask and told to push. I don’t think I was fully dilated. Normally, pushes last for 10 seconds. I was told to push for 15 seconds. After more than 5 rounds of pushing, Joshua was born. It was 9:44am. He was quickly whisked away. Jessica would not descend, however. The doctor reached into my womb to try to pull Jessica out, but she was being stubborn. He had her feet, but she wouldn’t move.

I was quickly transferred to an operating table, and given more medicine. I struggled to tell a nurse that I couldn’t breathe. I was numb past my neck, and I felt like I was suffocating. She assured me that I was okay. I did not feel okay.

Jessica was removed from my womb at 9:56am. Just that fast. I don’t remember hearing her cry. I was so weak. She was also whisked away. Donnie followed the nurse who took our babies. The doctor asked me if I wanted my tubes tied. I gave him the go ahead. He asked me again. “Yes!”, I exclaimed. I don’t know where that energy came from, but I knew that I never wanted to do this again.

I was wheeled into recovery. I remember being so cold and feeling so weak. I couldn’t get enough blankets to keep me warm.

I finally got to meet my babies. They were so beautiful. They looked so peaceful as the slept.

After awhile, we were wheeled to our Mother and Baby room. It was a huge room. It was very nice. My babies were taken back to the nursery. The doctor came in and explained to me that I had lost a lot of blood. I knew this already. He told me that I needed to have blood transfusions. I received 6 bags of blood before I started to feel normal again. Well, as normal as possible. I was still pretty numb from the anesthesia, and I was still sporting compression socks and a catheter.

The stay at the hospital was lengthy. I checked in on Monday, and wasn’t discharged until Saturday.

I remember the first time that I had to get up and walk. I needed a nurse to help me get to the bathroom. The i struggled to swing my legs to the side of the bed. As soon as I put one of my feet on the floor, the pain TORE through my body. I quickly took my weight off of that foot. I tried this a few more times before I just said, “Screw it!”, and decided to push through the pain.

The pain was unbearable, but I really needed to go to the bathroom. I had no idea how I was going to do this. Donnie was on leave from work, so I definitely had help with the kids

I whined through the pain as I hunched my way over to the bathroom. Please Jesus! I don’t fault these medical professionals for being agitated. There are many more patients that need care, and half of them were probably almost as annoying as I was.

Saturday’s ride home seemed longer than usual. When we got home, Donnie made sure I was settled into bed before putting the twins to sleep. As usual, the older children were curious and excited to see the babies. I was worn out and needed a nap, so I slept

I woke up to a ton of pain. Because I was breastfeeding, I was given prescription Tylenol to take. Tylenol does nothing for me. Still, I took the medicine. I was desperate for any type of relief from the piercing pain in my abdomen.

See, I was used to delivering the conventional way to the the point where I could walk just hours after giving birth. This c-section recovery experience was something I didn’t imagine.

I needed every bit of the 6 week postpartum period to fully recover from my emergency c-section. Donnie was a trooper. He literally JUMPED every time I needed help.

Going to the bathroom was Hell. The usual pain of standing up was starting to get to me. The pain was still unbearable. This time, the pain paralyzed me. I literally could not more once that pain tore through my body. Then, it happened. I was so embarrassed. My legs were wet. This happened for a good 3 weeks.

Still, the show had to go on, so I slapped on a Depends and kept pushing. Maybe I pushed too hard. My c-section scar started to reopen and I developed a small infection.

Are you serious?

I was finally able to walk, with no assistance, 4 weeks after giving birth. I was still crouched over, but it was much easier to get around. I had a follow-up appointment to have my dressing taken off of my wound. There was so much tape! At least I didn’t have staples.

By 6 weeks postpartum, I was able to walk upright, and do everything for myself. This was a blessing because Donnie was set to return to work 2 weeks later. I was really going to miss his care and attentiveness though.

I wasn’t scared of being by myself with a newborn. I was scared of being by myself with two newborns and a one-year old. Not to mention, I had three other kids to get ready for school each morning.

All I hear is the echoing choruses of “You got a lot on your hands, don’t you?”.

Yes. Yes, I do.

If you are interested in jewelry, I sell paparazzi jewelry through my business, “Antonia’s Glamsc8pe”. Feed your $5.00 habit at my online store:

https://www.antoniasglamsc8pe.com

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Autism: From the outside looking in.

Awe-Tism: What Autism Looks Like To Me

I will never know what it’s like to be autistic. I will never pretend to know what it’s like just because I have children who are autistic. Isn’t it annoying that some people think they know what it’s like to raise kids because they have babysitting experience? This is two different worlds & two different realities.

From birth, my sons thrived like the average child. As usual, I was a proud mommy. Julian was born in 2015, and 11 months later I gave birth to a set of twins. Joshua was born with his sister, Jessica. Despite her challenges in the beginning, Jessica was always slightly ahead of Joshua with her milestones. After Joshua’s first birthday, I noticed that his pupils always seemed to be dilated and he would barely make eye contact. This went on for awhile. I kind of brushed the matter off when two year old Julian never attempted the words “mom” or “dad” or when he never responded to his name. 

At three years old, Julian said his first words. They were “Thank you”. He would thank his dad and I whenever we gave him something. Julian also began to recognize colors. I was very relieved by this progress. Still, he wouldn’t acknowledge his dad or myself by name or answer to his name. Joshua was two at this point. He  was not talking or answering to his name either. Meanwhile, Jessica has a vocabulary of at least 50 words. I try not to compare kids because they are all different, but I can admit that I felt weird about the differences between my twins & their development. Part of me wanted to try the “wait and see” approach because I have other children who experienced delays in speech. They eventually became chatter boxes. 

My husband took Joshua and Jessica to their two year old check up. Jessica has a great report. Joshua was healthy, but his pediatrician referred him for further evaluation. This process was not new to me. My son, Avery was referred for evaluations when he was in Head Start. Today, he is almost eight years old. He has no specific diagnosis, but he is listed as having learning disabilities on his IEP.

I followed up with a coordinator from the local infant and toddler program. She was very nice and helpful. She came to my house to visit Joshua and set up appointments for him to have a speech evaluation and hearing screening. I wanted to make sure Joshua was deaf since he still was not responding normal noises or his name being called. 

During this same time frame, I noticed that Julian had stopped speaking. He had a noticeably small vocabulary, but it was gone. Also, he was still not responding to his name. I could not obtain services for Julian through the program Joshua was in because he was three. Kids in the program age out the day before their third birthday. Joshua began to exhibit behaviors such as hopping and what my husband called, “flapping his wings”.  Julian had also been “flapping his wings”, but he was also walking on his tip toes all of the time. Joshua began to receive speech and developmental therapy. Julian would also attend several appointments with Joshua. 

Towards the end of Joshua’s enrollment in the Infant and Toddler program, he was enrolled in the public school system. He was able to attend Pre-K at three years old so that he could receive additional support. Joshua was then  referral to UNC TEAACH in Chapel Hill, NC after his psychological evaluation returned heartbreaking results. My husband and I packed up all of our kids and made the drive to this center. Everyone was really friendly. The staff helped care for our other children while the doctor evaluated Joshua. 

After the evaluation, my husband and I were ushered into a conference room. We received the verdict that we were expecting: “Joshua has Autism Spectrum Disorder”.  My stomach dropped. I already knew, but hearing the words made things final. Before the doctor discussed her findings, she handed me a thick packet of paperwork and asked to see Julian next. She observed some of his behavior in passing. It made sense. If Joshua has Autism, then Julian does as well. At this point I was numb. I couldn’t think of any questions to ask, which was abnormal for me. I always ask questions. I always verify information. In that moment, I had nothing to say. The doctor kept mentioning “2” and “3”, but I was just issuing a blank stare. I later read the paperwork and got a better understanding. I made a phone call a few weeks later and asked a flood of questions. 

Julian’s diagnosis came next after his evaluations. I enrolled him in Pre-K. Because the county coordinator had retired in the middle of the year, it took a long time for me to get Julian in school. When a replacement was finally hired, I kept getting the runaround. Julian finally started attending school a year after his younger brother. Unfortunately, they go to two different schools. There are only so many available openings per school. Joshua was sent to a traditional school, while Julian was sent to a year round school.

It’s not my world. I’m just blessed to be apart of it.